I am currently stationed in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. I’ve been loving it here – the sun, the beach, the forest, the monkeys, the ocean. I feel like I’m living in paradise. There is even a health food/vegan restaurant here. How could this get any better?!
A typical day for me looks like this: wake up around 7am. Get ready, go for coffee around 8. Take a long walk on the beach. Go to healthy restaurant for breakfast. Go to the beach, lay in the sun for a few hours, read. Go back to healthy restaurant for lunch. Work on website/YouTube/misc. Make dinner or eat fruit at hostel. Sometimes go for a run. Watch Netflix (currently re-watching How I Met Your Mother – love that show!) and then go to sleep around 10 pm.
I love every part of my days here. Healthy food. Exercise. Sun. Freedom. The best part is, I’m doing this all for under $30 per day.
Say what?! That sounds crazy. Costa Rica isn’t cheap – it’s relatively expensive for Central American standards. But I’ve managed to live how I want to live on a budget – without feeling like I’m on a budget. I mean, hello, I’m eating out twice a day.
Let’s break down the cost of my life here:
Hostel: I am staying in a shared room with two beds. I pay $12 a night, and 90% of the time, the room is all mine. I also pay $1 a day for a locker. This hostel is a lifesaver for being so cheap – it’s what allows me to spend more on food. If I wanted to pay even less, I could get a bed in a 10 bed dorm room. But… that’s not my style. Total: $13/day
Entertainment: I get my reading material from a book exchange. So I take a book, and leave a book. Going to the beach is free. Going for runs is free. Walking through the jungle is, yep, FREE. Netflix costs me a whopping $9 a month, which per day is basically nothing. Total: FREE.
Food: I usually cook and eat my own food while traveling. But I am obsessed with this restaurant down the street (the vegan one), so I’m taking advantage of it while I can. I usually spend around $15 total to eat out twice. If I get something expensive for one meal, I balance it out with something less expensive later. Sometimes I will eat fruit for 2 meals a day, and eat out only once. Tap water is drinkable here, and I usually fill up my hydroflask (reusable water bottle) at the hostel a few times a day. Total: $15/day
Transportation: I walk everywhere. I have rented a bike one day, for $5. Since I’ve been here for 5 days, that averages out to $1/day. Total: $1/day
Let’s total it up: $13 + $0 + $15 + $1 = $29. So I’m living the life here for $29 a day. That is less than it costs me to live at home – a lot less. And I’m staying right next to the beach, seeing monkeys every day; I’m living my dream life. My overall budget for my entire trip is $50/day. I made it work in Europe by couchsurfing, taking buses for long trips, walking a lot, and eating in often. I like to have fun with my budget, living different lifestyles in different countries. I have loved being in Costa Rica, spending my days in a swimsuit by the ocean with a good book, eating healthy food, and doing whatever I want.
Staying below budget is just the icing on the (vegan) cake. 🙂